Using a special app and Gear S3 smartwatches from Samsung, employees at Cincinnati restaurant chain Buffalo Wings & Rings and at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are getting haptic cues as they do their work so they can provide more responsive customer service.
Under proof-of-concept trials being done in both enterprises, Samsung has partnered with Hipaax to use its customizable TaskWatch wearables software platform and app to provide customer service information to employees in real-time, according to a May 16 joint announcement by the companies.
Servers wearing the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches on their wrists during the shifts at the restaurant receive haptic feedback, or subtle vibrations, reminding them of tasks such as checking with guests to see if they need drink refills or letting them know that new guests are seated and awaiting greetings at their table.
At the airport, terminal sanitation workers can receive haptic feedback letting them know that it is time to again clean the restrooms after a certain number of visitors have used the facilities.
By providing just-in-time customer service information to workers, enterprises can be more responsive to customers and improve the personal experiences of visitors to businesses of all types, Julie Godfrey, Samsung’s manager of retail solutions, told eWEEK. The operation of the watches and app is hands-free, giving the employees the information they need without breaking their stride.
“We’re concentrating here on a line-of-business application for the watches, for specific vertical markets inside those businesses” including hospitality, retail and transportation, which can be expanded in the future to a wide range of other enterprises, such as factories, logistics and more, she said.
The TaskWatch app can be used with Samsung Gear S3 or S2 smartwatches and is fully customizable by enterprises to meet their unique business requirements, Bharat Saini, the CTO and founder of Hipaax, told eWEEK. Businesses can purchase the smartwatches fully-loaded with the TaskWatch app from third-party integrators that prepare the devices for users.
The smartwatches and app integrate with Samsung’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) application to give IT managers the ability to create device policies and control over the deployment and management of wearable features through a web portal. The system can be managed through the cloud or on-premises, including the ability to remotely install or remove applications or remotely wipe a device. Samsung’s KNOX security features can also be used to lock down employee wearables for businesses and can restrict what users do with the devices.
The Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches are enterprise-ready, including IP68 dust and water resistance, said Godfrey, enabling them to keep working in busy workplaces.
Ramon T. Llamas, a wearables and mobile phone analyst with IDC, told eWEEK that through their partnership Samsung and Hipaax are “bringing productivity to smartwatches in a way that allows workers to keep their hands free to complete tasks and receive notifications and updates.”
And because these inputs are received automatically, “operations will be able to run smoother and more efficiently, and eventually have a positive impact on the business.”
Those are the kinds of things that businesses and users want from wearables, he added. “What I am looking forward to is what other tasks can be organized into TaskWatch. Other companies will eventually jump on board once they’ve seen the results that it delivers.”
Another analyst, J.P. Gownder of Forrester, told eWEEK in an email reply that the Gear S3 smartwatches running the Hipaax app “have the potential to reshape how certain jobs are done and to drive technology-augmented productivity,” especially when it comes to workflows that are usually manual, as in a restaurant setting.
“Using smartwatches with task management software can improve the experience of both customers—who get faster, better service—and employees—who can focus on being efficient.”
By using smartwatches and targeted apps such as TaskWatch, “the scenarios that Hipaax and Samsung developed will, in many cases, lower staffing costs, raise productivity, and most importantly increase customer value,” wrote Gownder. “I think organizations should take a close look at these business [applications], particularly large companies.”
The Gear S3 smartwatches, which start at $350, include the Frontier watch in two versions—a WiFi and Bluetooth model, and a WiFi, Bluetooth and LTE model—as well as the Classic model, which is equipped only with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.
All versions of the Gear S3 feature a 1.3-inch round Super AMOLED full-color, always-on display with 360×360 resolution and a Corning Gorilla Glass display cover, a dual-core 1GHz processor, 768MB of memory, 4GB of internal storage and run on the Tizen-Based Wearable Platform 2.3.1 operating system.
The 380mAh battery in the Gear S3 smartwatches can go about three days before needing to be recharged on the included wireless charger. All Gear S3 models also include built-in speakers and microphones so users can give input to the devices on the fly.
The smartwatches can be used with smartphones that feature at least 1.5GB of memory and are running on the Android 4.4 operating system or higher.
The Gear S3 is Samsung’s successor to the Gear S2 smartwatches, which went on sale in November 2015. The Gear S2 featured a smaller 1.2-inch circular screen, a 1GHz dual-core processor, 4GB of internal storage, 512MB of memory and a 300mAh battery.